I would like to personally thank Lee over at Horse’s Ass for so ably proving my original point on this topic.
You’re very welcome, sir. For those who haven’t been following, here are what appear to be the points he made in that post:
– MoveOn.org and the netroots community – including our own local friends in that following – have lost touch with political reality
– Their attack against Giuliani in Iowa after his response to their Petraeus ad is a blessing of the first order for Team Rudy
Eric is exactly right that I “proved” the second of these points. Why? Because I somewhat agree with it. And I even said so in the original post:
Giuliani may very well be able to use this as a way to make him look tough to the 29% of Americans who are still inhabiting the fairy tale world where Bush is a great president and victory in Iraq is just around the corner.
The first point was the one I took issue with. MoveOn has not “lost touch” with political reality in any way. Rudy Giuliani took out a one-page ad in the New York Times attacking them, so they responded. That’s politically smart. When someone challenges you, you fight back. Americans actually want more of that from Democrats and left-leaning groups, not less.
Eric’s just warming up though:
His frothy indignation over the fact MoveOn.org attacks against Rudy Giuliani are actually helping his candidacy is a delightful exhibition of all that is lovable and cute about the netroots.
Actually, as I mentioned above, my “frothy indignation” was over the accusation that MoveOn and the netroots have lost touch with political reality, not that any of this helps Giuliani. While I’ve been very outspoken on why I think Giuliani might be the worst of the Republican candidates, I have little interest or ability to influence who the Republicans pick as their nominee. MoveOn arguably has some more interest and ability, but anyone who thinks that that’s the main consideration for why they responded to his attack is silly. Giuliani went after them. If this helps Giuliani, it was because he was the one who picked the fight (any of the candidates could have responded to the original MoveOn ad). What was MoveOn supposed to do? Respond to Mitt Romney or John McCain instead? The fact that it might be helping Giuliani is not an indication of MoveOn not understanding political reality, it’s an indication that the Republican Party is an embarrassment and that they seem eager to nominate someone who can’t possibly win next fall.
His core point seems to be: “Earling is wrong because the American public isn’t happy with the situation in Iraq.” Thanks for the newsflash. Too bad I don’t dispute that point about the American public’s feelings and it has nothing to do with the post in question.
That’s pretty far from obvious if one reads that post again. The mistake I made is that I didn’t realize that when Eric was talking about “political reality,” he was talking solely about the fantasyland that Republicans are living in now – where they’re looking for a candidate who appears tough enough to keep themselves from wetting their beds – and not the political reality that the rest of us are dealing with, where we’re appreciative of anti-war efforts with some spine.
The reality of national public opinion doesn’t for a minute change the fact that attacking Rudy Giuliani in a Republican primary by saying he didn’t stand up to George W. Bush on Iraq isn’t going to have the desired effect.
Except that it is going to have the desired effect. MoveOn isn’t responding to Rudy solely because they’re trying to take him out in the Republican primary. They’re responding to Rudy because they’re sick and tired of watching Democrats in the same situation fail to respond to attacks.
Who the attack is coming from doesn’t help either. MoveOn.org has about as much credibility with Republican primary voters as Pat Robertson does with their Democratic counterparts.
Exactly, so why would they care about how die-hard Republican voters react? Their message is for those whose minds actually work. If none of those people are voting for Republicans any more, then it doesn’t matter. But a recent survey showed that a majority of Iowa Republicans want a full withdrawal of troops from Iraq in six months. That’s the political reality. If this ad still helps Giuliani in the primary, it arguably hurts the Republicans severely in November 2008.
Put a different way; imagine the Club for Growth running ads in the primary attacking a Democratic candidate for not standing up to organized labor on free trade. Same effect.
If the Democratic candidate attacked the Club for Growth, I would expect them to fight back. But whether or not this helped the particular Democrat would not be based upon the response, but whether Democratic voters agreed with the original attack.
Such attacks from MoveOn.org’s might – stress might – have some potential in the right swing states in the general election, depending on where things are at a year from now. But that’s not exactly what MoveOn.org is trying to accomplish right now is it?
Is he kidding? Is he really saying that when MoveOn responds to an attack on them by a Republican, it could make them look bad? What? [Actually, no he’s not, see below]
It’s certainly theoretically possible that a particular MoveOn.org position can be seen as extreme enough that an unprovoked attack (like the original Petraeus ad) could alienate people. But if a majority of Americans strongly agree with their message, it won’t. And when it comes to some of the basic stuff MoveOn.org is fighting for, the majority of the American public agrees with them.
As I said in the earlier post, am I really sharing a planet with this guy?
UPDATE: After re-reading, I definitely misinterpreted Earling’s last paragraph. He’s saying that an attack like this could help defeat a candidate like Giuliani in the general election. Of course it could. In fact, it most definitely would, and it’s part of the reason why these ads are appearing already. I’m still not sure Eric really grasps how unpopular this war has become.